Reports surfaced last week that President Obama supports an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from the current $7.25 an hour. This suggestion surpasses his previous call earlier this year to raise the minimum wage to $9.

Although the President did not publicly announce support for the new wage, administrative officials told the New York Times that he is fully behind the 2013 Fair Minimum Wage Act, which suggests raising the wage to "at least" $10.10.

New York's Democratic Senator Charles Schumer also told the Times, "The combination of an increase to $10.10 and some breaks for small business on expensing unite virtually the whole Democratic caucus, and we are prepared to move forward shortly."

Additionally, President Obama is said to support raising the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and indexing both the tipped and federal minimum wage to increase alongside the cost of living.

Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, said the president's support is "truly historic, and a victory for the thousands of restaurant worker members of ROC who have been fighting for an increase in the tipped minimum wage for the last several years.

"After 22 years of being excluded from regular minimum wage increases and seeing their hourly wage stagnated at $2.13 an hour, tipped workers, who are 70 percent female, are thrilled to hear the President demand an increase to both the regular and tipped minimum wage. With wages as low as $2, $3, and $4 an hour, these women live off their tips; they suffer from three times the poverty rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce and use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce. A more stable base income for tipped workers, as supported by President Obama, would allow these workers increased economic security, access to healthy food, and the ability to put food on their own families' tables."

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  • Vince Holland
    Where does the data come from that states that women (waitresses not waiters?) suffer three times the poverty rate? The wait staff employees that I am familiar with earn a very decent living from their tips and some don't even cash their minimal employer checks for months. And are you referring to part time or full time employees? Of course, fast food employees who do not benefit from gratuities are a different story. These full time workers do deserve a higher wage and benefits which can be justified by substantially reduced employee turnover and training costs for new employees. Fast Food part-time positions are for students and others who realize upfront that these positions are usually temporary and do not justify a so called livable wage. Nevertheless, Fast-Food employers should definitely be more pro-active, create more full-time salaried positions with greater responsibilities and with benefits. They must get with it. With upscale casual dining restaurants, one should definitely look at Del Frisco's Restaurant Group and how they compensate employees. Vince Holland Restaurant Business Consultant
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